8th April 2019
The start of a life-long party – Diane & Jason
Diane Stafrace and Jason Dussault’s wedding day was a reflection of their story – fun and full of love.
When Diane Stafrace arrived in Malta from New York for a short trip in September 2014, little did she imagine she’d end up meeting her future husband – artist and venture capitalist, Jason Dussault. Diane, an art advisor and dealer, had planned to attend an art fair in London, and, while in Europe, decided to spend a few days in Malta to catch up with family and friends.
Soon after touching down, Diane got invited to dinner by a close friend, who hinted they had a handsome guest over who had just moved to Malta, and who they thought she should meet. “I was only in Malta for a few days and wasn’t really looking to meet someone, plus I wanted to spend time with my family, so I gave it a miss. Two days later, another friend I had planned to meet up for drinks with told me that this guy, Jason, who’s really cool and who I’d surely like, was joining us. I kept thinking, who is this guy that everyone keeps talking to me about?”
And so Diane headed to Valletta on a Friday night, only to discover she was actually being set up with Jason until her friends joined later. And as it turned out, her friends were right. “We hit it off right away and had a lovely evening together – we just talked and talked all night!” says Diane. “We met again for lunch the following Sunday, when Jason told me he wanted to experience a beautiful sunset in Malta, so we planned to meet one last time before I left for London the next day, but he had a surprise up his sleeve.”
Jason chartered a sailing boat, comlpete with a captain, champagne and nibbles, and they sailed around the Grand Harbour at sunset on a balmy September evening. “It was one of the most romantic things he’s done, definitely one of the most memorable!”
Diane returned to London for the art fair, but couldn’t resist making one last stop in Malta before heading back to New York, to spend one last weekend with Jason. That weekend marked a turning point in their relationship, which led Diane to make the decision to relocate from New York to London.
The couple spent one year living in Europe, followed by two years in New York for them to pursue their careers further, after which they spent one year living in Ibiza, during which time Jason was working on an art collection for a gallery in London. It was during their first weekend settling into their new home in Ibiza that Jason popped the question to Diane.
“We returned home from a party one night and Jason asked me to make him tea – it is very unlike him to drink tea. I did, and when I went back upstairs, I found the bedroom lit up with candles. That’s when Jason got down on one knee and asked me to marry him,” says Diane.
Although now based in Vancouver, the couple decided to plan a destination wedding in Malta, which seemed like the perfect choice for them logistically, but also because it’s where their love story all began.
The couple set the date for 7th July 2018, with both the ceremony and reception held at Villa Bologna in Attard. “The venue on the day was phenomenal. I always imagined getting married in a fairy tale setting, and Malta has all that with its many beautiful palazzos. I looked around a bit, but when I saw Villa Bologna, I fell in love with it right away,” says Diane. “The ceremony was held at the front of the venue, and the lighting at that time was magical. Although we couldn’t get married in church, as Jason has been married previously, we did have a priest present who gave us a beautiful talk and blessing, and who presided over the exchange of the vows.”
As for styling their wedding, Diane says she drew inspiration from the wedding venues she had seen in Ibiza. “They use lots of fairy lights in the trees, which create a wonderfully mystical feel. It’s the kind of atmosphere I wanted to achieve for our wedding reception, so we added fjakkoli, lots of candles and fairy lights to the venue.” The venue décor and flowers were entrusted to Joanna Zammit, while the car fleet on the day was supplied by eCabs.
The couple invited around 150 guests, most of whom live abroad, for a small and intimate wedding. Following the ceremony at the front of the venue, guests mingled over cocktails before moving to the back garden for the reception. “Having everything in the same place meant that the wedding flowed nicely from one part of the day to another. Also, foreigners are used to sit-down dinners, so our guests were very impressed with the fact that there was flowing food and drink, and dancing all night long – they loved it!”
For her wedding dress, Diane knew what she wanted, but it was very different to the one she eventually ended up buying. “I was after a fitted, sexy but elegant dress, and always cringed at the idea of a ball gown,” she explains. “I set up a number of appointments and planned a wedding dress shopping trip to New York with my girlfriends, but I had a hard time finding one I liked. It was at the last appointment that my friend picked out this dress, which is the one I eventually bought, and insisted that I try it. Eventually, I did, and I had this huge smile on my face when I saw myself in the mirror – I felt like a little girl in her party dress!”
The gown, by Israeli designer Pnina Tornai, featured a fitted corset with boning and an asymmetric organza skirt that skimmed the floor. “It’s a couture dress with a very playful design, and the fact that it didn’t drag on the floor meant I could show off my shoes, and walk and dance comfortably all day,” says Diane.
On the day of the wedding, Diane woke up feeling completely relaxed, with a lot of time on her hands. “I was planning on going to the gym, but my mother talked me out of it, so I went for a walk instead and stopped at my favourite café. They couldn’t believe I was there when I told them it was my wedding day!” Diane stayed the night and got ready at her parents’ house with the help of make-up artist Melanie Gregory, and Chris Scicluna, her sister’s husband, who styled her hair.
Looking back on some of the best parts of the day, Diane says it’s hard to pick a favourite, but one of the most touching parts had to be walking up the aisle with her father. “My father is 83, and I always dreamed he would walk me, even though I never gave my parents the impression I’d get married anytime soon,” says Diane. “Also, having my sister, Moira Stafrace, sing Ave Maria as we arrived was very touching. Ever since I was a little girl I wished that she would sing at my wedding, and she made us all cry with her amazing, angelic voice. Then, of course, seeing Jason at the end of the aisle, and exchanging the rings – the moment we literally tied the knot – were really special.”
The newlyweds, family and friends danced the night away to a lively set performed by Brown Sugar – The Desi Campbell Band, which Diane’s nephew forms part of, followed by tracks played by DJ Ziggy during their wedding after-party, which went on till the early hours of the morning. “That night, DJ Ziggy had one of his huge summer parties, and once our after-party had mellowed, we headed to the VIP area of Numero Uno to continue the celebrations there. The guests who stayed on were stunned at the size of the crowd at the party, and that he was the same DJ who played at our wedding!” says Diane. “We danced all night and left at around 5am. By the end of it, we were shattered, but it was so much fun and the most amazing night!”